When you’re in love and ready to take your relationship to the next level, moving in together seems like the logical next step. To make it work, though, there are some things you and your partner should discuss before you take the plunge.
From bathroom cleanliness to grocery preferences, these are some things you should work out with your honey before you share your living space.
Just as you would with any roommate, it’s a good idea to talk through the splitting of household tasks. Who will do what? Setting standards for cleanliness is also important to live harmoniously. If you like a tidy kitchen, but your partner likes to let the dishes soak, you’ll run into conflicts more quickly than you’d like.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion about expectations and responsibilities beforehand. For some couples, it helps to have clearly delineated roles, such as one partner will always take out the trash, and the other will always wash the dishes. Other people prefer to pitch in and just help each other as they go.
Either way, it’s important to establish what’s acceptable for both of you, and then stick to it.
Inviting People Over
After you move in together, you’ll need to respect each other’s boundaries when it comes to entertaining guests. For example, if you need some quiet time after work, but your partner loves to host a game night, you’ll need to establish some ground rules.
A good way to approach this is to establish that you’ll ask each other before either of you invite anyone over. This way, neither of you will be irritated or feel inconvenienced when guests come over.
Paying the Bills
How are you going to split the bills with your partner? Will you split the utilities down the middle? How about groceries and cell phone bills?
The bill-paying question becomes more difficult if one partner makes more money than the other. For example, if you make substantially more than your partner, he or she might feel it’s unfair if you both contribute equally to things like utilities.
If you discuss this before you move in together, you can mitigate the stress substantially. Be frank about your finances. Share what you would be comfortable with, so you and your partner are on the same page, and there won’t be any surprises.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to write a budget together. This makes your plan easier to stick to because you can refer back to it whenever necessary.
Your budget isn’t the only money topic you and your partner need to discuss. How are you going to handle your individual incomes? Will you keep them separate or put them in a combined account? Or will you open a shared account where you each deposit some of your paychecks each week?
There’s no right or wrong way to handle questions like these, but it’s important to talk them over with your partner and make sure you’re on the same page.
Whose Name Will Be on the Lease?
If you and your partner are getting a new place together, chances are you’ll both be on the lease. However, what if one of you is moving into the other person’s place? In that case, you should talk about the lease. Will both of your names be on it, or will you leave it as is?
Figure out what you’re going to do ahead of time, so it doesn’t become an issue later.
One of the best things about living with your partner is you get to see that person all the time. Now, instead of saying goodbye after a date or hanging out, you’ll get to go to sleep together every night, and wake up together every day! In fact, your partner will likely be the person you see most—which can quickly get old, especially if you’re an introvert who likes your private time.
Talk with your partner about when you like private time and what that means. If you’re not a morning person, tell your partner to leave you alone until after you have your first cup of coffee. If you like to decompress in silence after work, let your partner know you’ll need at least 30 minutes or so when you get home before you’re ready to engage.
If you set these boundaries ahead of time, it will prevent you from accidentally hurting each other’s feelings or creating misunderstandings.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving in with your partner, but don’t let romanticism cloud practicality. If you have these important conversations before you make the big move, it can help you solve a lot of conflicts before they arise.